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    Malmо - From Business to Buttons, Sweden

    Big Swedish Companies Draw Flak for Hiring 'White' Staff

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    Swedish broadcaster SVT has chastised the country's ten largest companies for failing to promote foreign, non-white employees to the most senior positions.

    Swedish television network SVT has castigated the country's ten largest companies for failing to promote non-white, foreign-born workers to their most senior positions, local sources said.

    SVT specifically looked into the ethnic make-up of the boards of Volvo, Ericcsson, Skanska, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Electrolux, TeliaSonera, SCA, Nordea, Sandvik and ICA, where just eleven out of ninety top staff reportedly have a non-European background.

    Nine of those people were reported to have American backgrounds and two were Australians.

    The broadcaster said that a "lack of people of foreign origin" came despite the fact that some of these ten companies had ever-increasing clout in the emerging markets of Asia and South America.

    At the same time, the television network lauded the forestry firm SCA for deviating from the "white Western norm" by appointing American-Cuban Barbara Milian Thoralfsson.

    H&M quickly issued a statement to respond to the criticism.

    "The people who today sit in senior management positions and on the board are appointed for their knowledge, expertise and many years of experience working at H&M both in Sweden and abroad. Overall, this means that together with H&M's country managers, they can develop H&M as a fast growing fashion company," the statement said.

    Meanwhile, people have surfed social networking websites to discuss the issue using the hashtag '#vitabolag' which means 'white company' in Swedish.

    Some commentators, for their part, have insisted that companies should recruit and develop staff with more diverse "skills and experiences" instead of focusing on the ethnic background of employees.

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    Electrolux, Ericsson, Volvo, brodcaster, staff, companies, criticism, Sweden
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